film review : No One Killed Jessica (2011)

Bringing to life a subject that ain’t non-fictional has challenges aplenty. The homework involved in even considering telling such a story is immense and getting the nuances right is definitely a big deal. I am sure many might have considered making a film out of the Jessica Lal‘s (life, and) death as it would make for a gripping watch, but director Rajkumar Gupta (of Aamir fame) took it upon himself to recreate an event that directly or indirectly touched innumerous lives in the country.

No One Killed Jessica begins with a female reporter Meera (Rani Mukherjee) narrating to us her understanding of India’s capital city Delhi. And how she is never able to encapsulate the city within a few words. She disappears after that. The audience is then taken through the incident that occurs at a plush party organized by the owner Mallika (Bubbles Sabharwal). Mallika played socialite Bina Ramani. Soon after Jessica‘s death the arrests begin and so do the intense grilling sessions of the accused. Eye witnesses are seen backing out stating reasons ranging from lame to stupid.

jessica lal

Here comes the role of prime eye witness Vikram (Neil Bhoopalam) who was bartending along with Jessica on the night of murder. He accepts seeing Manish (Mohammed Zeeshan) shoot Jessica, even signs the documents in agreement. Meanwhile before the trial begins the evidences have already been tampered and the prosecution’s case is weakened, thanks to the political clout that we begin smelling. Trial ensues with Vikram (who plays Shayan Munshi) cropping up a story and failing to identify the prime accused. Blowing up the case byVikram was not enough that the same song is sung by several others too. Only Mallika‘s daughter Naina (Samara Chopra) who is portraying Malini Ramani identifies the killer.

But due to lack of enough evidence all the accused are acquitted from where we get a newspaper headline stating No One Killed Jessica. With respect to the story this is where Meera‘s role comes into picture and hence begins the fast paced second half. Meera brings out the bitch within her to do something sensible this time. Conducts sting operations on Vikram and several others involved, airs the truth live on television, garners widespread public support leading to subsequent reopening of the case. In 2006, it was Tehelka that changed the rules of journalism by actually make everyone sit up and notice the truth through sting operations. Similar to the actual case Manish along with the other accused are punished thereby letting the truth prevail.

In between all of this it is Jessica‘s sister Sabrina who showcases extraordinary patience under ordinary circumstances. Watching Vidya Balan slip into Sabrina‘s shoes was as admirable as was watching Rajesh Sharma play the inspector in charge of interrogating the witnesses. No doubt Rani plays her fiery part well but then all those times when she tries to act cool coupled with those swearings do not suit her. Every other character made the movie worth watching. Newcomer Myra as Jessica does not have much work. If I remove the music and background score by Amit Trivedi then the movie would lose more than half of it’s weight. Brilliant score and Trivedi is seen beating himself with every new movie.

ronnie screwvala

rajkumar gupta

Kudos to Ronnie Screwvala (UTV Spotboy) for producing such a real film. I wish there was a little more emotional connection and it would have done wonders for the movie. But having personally read about the whole incident and being aware of what had happened, No One Killed Jessica is the closest any filmmaker could get as every detail has been taken care of. The man of the moment is Rajkumar Gupta who presented those seven years in around two hours with all the ingredients of a bollywood flick.

No One Killed Jessica is a well finished product and it needs to be watched.

Rating : 4/5


About Itihas Shetty

Is a verbomaniac. And a human being. And that's where the problem begins. View all posts by Itihas Shetty

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